Happenings, News

‘Exodus’ played to sell-out crowds

“Come, follow me to the Promised Land,” exhorts Moses.

ACS (BR) stages musical to inaugurate ACS Concert Hall

BORN to slave ancestry, raised by a surrogate mother, rescued from life-threatening situations, and spiritually renewed after the age of 40, the story of Moses is timeless and powerful. And this is the basis for Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road)’s second collaborative effort with Rainbow Theatre in staging an original musical entitled “Exodus: A Journey of Faith”.

This was held from the March 13 to 15, 2003 to inaugurate the ACS Concert Hall, named after Mrs Lee Choon Guan, a leading champion for education and social welfare in the early 20th century and a great lover of Western music. Mr Keith Chua, a great-grandson of Mrs Lee, was the guest-of-honour at the inauguration service on March 15.

This project was a landmark production as it not only inaugurated the ACS Concert Hall at the ACS (Barker Road) campus but also combined talents from ACS (BR), ACS (Primary), Anglo-Chinese Junior College and Methodist Girls’ School, involving all from the ages of eight to 18.

Inauguration of the Mrs Lee Choon Guan Concert Hall by Bishop Dr Robert Solomon (second from left). Others in the picture are, from left, Mr Ng Eng Chin, Principal of ACS (BR), Mr Keith Chua, and Mr Chelva Rajah, President of the ACS Old Boys’ Association.

Besides, the production benefited from the inputs of the creative team who were culled largely from the professional world of theatre – Dr Kenneth Lyen, a composer with seven musicals to his name, Chua Yao Zhang, who wrote the music, playwright Stella Kon, who penned the book and lyrics, and veteran stage and TV actress, Karen Lim, who directed the musical. The music was arranged by Bang Wenfu with choreography by Richard Chia to the set designed by Lim Yu-Beng.

Preparations for this musical started in earnest in November 2002 when cast members spent numerous hours rehearsing their lines, polishing their dance moves and memorising their musical numbers. Co-ordinating the various schedules of students for rehearsals from four schools was challenging, but the efforts of all cast and crew, including the production team, paid off. All three nights of the musical played to sell-out crowds.

However, more than the sell-out crowds, the slick choreography, the catchy tunes, the spectacular set and costumes, the esprit de corps it generated among the cast members from different schools would be the unchanging message the musical has left in its wake.

Undoubtedly, Moses was one of God’s greatest leaders. Yet his fear paralysed him from accepting God’s calling to be a leader of the Israelites: he shied from shepherding the people of Israel for fear of rejection, made countless excuses for not being able to lead them out of Egyptian bondage, and dreaded speaking in public.

However, despite his doubts, apparent frailties and inadequacies, God empowered Moses to lead His people into the Promised Land. Indeed, in these uncertain and troubled times, Moses’ journey of faith can encourage and uplift each of us – it may not always be easy to keep faith in the face of discouragement and seeming failure, but God can use ordinary people, imbuing in each of them the faith, courage, commitment and extraordinary abilities to accomplish His sovereign will.

Noel T. P. Ong is Subject Head (History and Social Studies) at Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road) and is a member of Charis Methodist Church.

Young Egyptian princes practising their dance steps.